August 23, 2010

Favorite Hiking Spots --Mt. Monadnock is one of them!

The weather is absolutely perfect for hiking. It's been a while since I've told you about area hiking trails. One of the most famous places to hike in the area is Mt. Monadnock.

Mt. Monadnock

Mt. Monadnock, one of the most frequently hiked mountains in the world.

When we moved to Petersham, MA from Leverkusen, Germany I did not believe that Mt. Monadnock could possibly be one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world, but apparently it is, right up there with Mt Fuji. I can now add myself to the people that have climbed Monadnock, but my husband Mark has climbed both!

The word monadnock is an old indian word that has been adopted by US geologists. The more frequently used international word is Inselberg, or isolated mountain. Lesser known synonyms are kopje and koppie. The definition of monadnock is an isolated rock, hill, ridge or small mountain that rises abruptly from it's surroundings. In the case of Mt. Moadnock, which lies between Jaffrey and Dublin, New Hampshire, the mountain rises approximately 2000 ft above it's surrounding landscape to a height of 3165 ft.

The history of the mountain is quite interesting. The first record of it being climbed is in 1725 by Captain Samuel Willard who was scouting for Indians. In the early 1800's the face of the mountain was changed irrevocably. Local farmers and innkeepers, waging war against the local wolf population caused wildfires which ultimately denuded the summit.

In the mid to late 19th century the mountain became very popular with up to 400 people a day hiking it. The Halfway House, a hotel large enough to accomdate 100 people and 75 horses was build in 1858 and operated until it burned down in 1954.

The town of Jaffrey started protecting the mountain in 1885 by acquiring 200 acres of summit land. This conservation effort was soon joined by the Society for the Preservation of New Hampshire Forests. Today 3672 acres are protected as conservation land, including a 900 acre state park on the western side of the mountain.

View from the summit of Mt. Monadnock

View from the summit of Mt. Monadnock

Over 40 miles of hiking trails ascend the mountain. The famous White Dot Trail on the west side of the mountain is the shortest and steepest. On the north side is the 2.4 mile Dublin Trail, the northeast one finds the 4.4 Pumpelly Trail and to the East. For more detailed information on the trails try this unofficial but very informative website.
Innkeeper Deni Ellis on the Summit of Mt. Monadnock

Innkeeper Deni Ellis on the Summit of Mt. Monadnock

The view from the top is simply incredible and I can't think of a better place to hike on a gorgeous summer or fall day. And of course if you need a place to stay for your hike, the Inn at Clamber Hill is conveniently close just 25 miles down the road in Petersham, MA as there are no longer any inns on the mountain.
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